Hayden Town Council says no to medical pot | SteamboatToday.com

Hayden Town Council says no to medical pot

Hayden votes, 6-0, declining to amend town’s land use code

Jack Weinstein

— Hayden Town Council members took little time Thursday to unanimously vote down a proposal to amend the town's land use code. The proposed changes to the code would have allowed a medical marijuana dispensary to be located in Hayden's historic downtown district.

All six council members voiced their opposition to the plan before the vote. Council member Jim Haskins did not attend the meeting.

Because the town's code does not define whether medical marijuana dispensaries are allowed, Town Manager Russ Martin said council members only could consider what applicant Scott Cychosz had proposed. Martin said the Town Council couldn't change anything about the proposal; it had to be accepted or denied.

Martin said because the proposal was not comprehensive enough, the town's staff and Planning Commission recommended that it be denied.

Cychosz, who owns dispensaries in Denver and Lakewood, cited the economic benefits a dispensary could have in Hayden. He said it would attract people and businesses.

"I want to help make Hayden a destination, a place that people go to, not through," Cychosz said.

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Many of the 40 or so residents who attended Thursday's meeting didn't seem interested in Cychosz' help.

Three residents who spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting mentioned that Hayden doesn't even have a pharmacy.

"Legitimate medical marijuana users can go to Steamboat Springs or Craig to get their remedies just like the rest of us go to Steamboat Springs or Craig to get our prescriptions filled," said resident Brian Hoza, who also is the Hayden School Board's president.

Resident Dallas Robinson said he didn't oppose the use of medical marijuana for people who need it to treat medical conditions, but he "adamantly" opposed a dispensary because he worried it would have a negative effect on Hayden's youths. He also said medical marijuana users could go to existing dispensaries in Steamboat and Craig.

Tammie Delaney said she and other residents worked to put together Hayden's comprehensive plan and that medical marijuana dispensaries were not part of the vision the town had for its future.

Residents Kara and Shelby Rosen spoke in favor of medical marijuana dispensaries. The couple said they plan to submit a proposal to Hayden but had waited to prepare one that would address all of the town's concerns. After the meeting, Shelby Rosen said they likely would submit the plan today.

Town Council members directed Martin to continue researching House Bill 1284, which was approved by the Colorado House of Representatives on May 11 and is awaiting Gov. Bill Ritter's signature before it becomes law. The legislation requires that dispensaries be licensed and monitored throughout the state but allows local municipalities to ban them.

Martin said the legislation includes restrictions for dispensaries similar to what is required for someone to obtain a liquor license, such as criminal background checks and distances from schools.

After conducting more research, Martin said he would be able to give council members options about whether they need to adopt an ordinance that outlines their intentions for medical marijuana dispensaries, if it's required by law.

But he said Thursday's meeting made a clear statement about dispensaries in Hayden.

"I hope it's clear that the town is not interested in any type of application," he said.

After the meeting, Cychosz said he would have to think about whether to submit another proposal to locate a medical marijuana dispensary in Hayden that would address issues voiced by residents.

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